Panty thief Sung Koo Kim gets out of prison next month
SALEM, Ore. - A man convicted of stealing thousands of pairs of women's underwear from college campuses, and whose name was once linked to the Brooke Wilberger case, will soon be out of prison.
Sung Koo Kim is scheduled to be released on Dec. 24. He was convicted in 2006 and has been at the Oregon State Correctional Institution in Salem ever since.
You might recall that the case was a complicated one because it spanned four counties - Benton, Washington, Yamhill and Multnomah. Kim received sentences in each county and served some of them concurrently.
According to testimony during one of his trials, Kim began stealing women's underwear when he was 17 years old and by the time he was arrested, he had amassed a collection of over 3,400 pairs. Police also found 40,000 pornographic images on his computer that showed women being tortured, mutilated and raped, and there were also images of sex acts involving children.
Prior to his conviction, Kim was also considered a suspect in the 2004 disappearance of 19-year-old Brooke Wilberger. The young woman was last seen at an apartment complex in Corvallis and investigators found Kim in possession of underwear that belonged to another woman who lived there.
The Wilberger case drew national attention and once Kim's name was linked to it, he gained notoriety as a suspect. In the end, however, there was no evidence that could connect Kim to Wilberger's disappearance.
Investigators then honed in on another man, Joel Courtney, who eventually pleaded guilty to murdering Wilberger. Her body was later found on an abandoned logging road near Corvallis after Courtney gave investigators detailed instructions on where to find the remains. The following video clip is our report in 2009 when Wilberger's body was found:
Kim's family filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming they had been traumatized by being linked to the Wilberger case. While Kim's mother admitted that her son was mentally ill, she criticized police, saying they had portrayed her son as a monster.
In 2008, the state paid a $331,000 settlement to the Kim family. At the time, an Oregon Department of Justice spokesman said the state had decided to settle partly because of possible technical errors in a search warrant.